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Senator Wellstone, Minnesota, Dies In Plane Crash

Senator Paul Wellstone, his wife, and his two daughters were killed today in a plane crash in northern Minnesota. The plane was a two-engine turboprop; five other people were on board and also killed.

Wellstone was locked in a very tight race for his U.S Senate seat, although he had recently pulled ahead of his challenger, Norm Coleman.

Wellstone was the only Senate incumbent in a tight race to vote against President Bush's resolution to invade Iraq.

Minnesota election law will determine how the election will be handled.

Two years ago, Missouri's governor, Mel Carnahan, was killed in a plane crash three weeks before election day.

Carnahan had been running for Senate against the incumbent, John Ashcroft. Carnahan's name remained on the ticket, he won, and his widow served in his place until the next Senate election, this November.

Minnesota law allows for the governor to fill a vacant Senate seat. It also allows for the party to appoint a replacement in the event of a death of a nominee.

At this time the Democrats of Minnesota plan to appoint a replacement to the November ballot for the late Senator Wellstone, according to State Democratic Party spokesman Bill Amberg

The governor of Minnesota is Jesse Ventura, an independent.

Eight people in all were killed in the crash. These were the Senator, his wife, one daughter, members of the Senators campaign staff and the plane's two pilots.

This is not only a terrible human tragedy; it also makes the balance of power in the U.S. Senate more tenuous.

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